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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Ex-Trump Security Chief Testifies Before Congressional Investigators; New York Times: 5 Women Say Louis CK Crossed Line into Sexual Misconduct. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We're going to talk more about this breaking news on Russia, plus the shocking new allegations against yet another Hollywood star.

[16:30:03] That's ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: We're back on a very, very busy news day with our panel and our politics lead.

Kevin Madden, so we have Keith Schiller, the president's former top security guy, testifying that when he and then private citizen Trump were in Moscow in 2013, somebody from a group of Russians said something about sending women up to then private citizen Trump's hotel room. Schiller said no, and then he later told that Trump about it and Trump laughed it off and that was the end of that.

What do you make of this?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the main thing is that how wide-ranging this exploration by the House committee is into the allegations in the actual Steele dossier.

And I know that we have heard that they're looking at it and that elements of it have been discussed, but now that they're actually asking and questioning witnesses directly about it I think is actually interesting.

[16:35:02] And the other thing is it gets closer and closer to Trump himself.

I think the other part of it is that this is at least a potential confirmation that there was an actual concerted effort to compromise Trump back -- as far back as 2013. Now I think the fact that he was under oath, I understand, and said that there was a strict denial on this, should I think still worked well for the White House or concert with what the White House has said previously, but it's just certainly very news worthy.

TAPPER: And we know just from covering the story that Russians in general do this with business people and journalists and others, it's not that in 2013 they thought he was going to be president some day, with successful people so that they can blackmail them or use them to provide them with information, David.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Kompromat, right?

TAPPER: Kompromat, right.

CHALIAN: I mean, this is the word we've been hearing throughout this whole story.

So, I do think -- I agree that it's sort of more interesting insight into just how aggressive the Russians are in trying to develop potentially compromising material against an American. You know, it does occur to me that while the president has called those salacious and so far totally uncorroborated portions of the dossier that we haven't reported the details on here, garbage, Keith Schiller like you said, backing up that argument and absolutely saying it's not true. It does at least gives, as if it didn't fly out of nowhere, there's some semblance of why something like that ended up in the Steele dossier.

TAPPER: Why there would be rumors about that?

CHALIAN: Why would there be rumors about that if indeed this kind of offer of five women which Keith Schiller admitting happened, even though it was laughed off as a joke, he admitted that that did indeed happen. So, you can understand how rumors like that might end up in the dossier.

TAPPER: Hillary, I think it's very possible that much to the chagrin of many Democrats, a lot of the most salacious parts of the dossier may never be proven or may be entirely debunked.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well -- and they may be, maybe he didn't have sex with prostitutes, maybe there was no, you know --

TAPPER: I think you probably can underline a little stronger than that.

ROSEN: Right.

TAPPER: There's no evidence whatsoever that he did.

ROSEN: But I don't think that's actually the most interesting piece of this, because remember during the debates when Donald Trump bragged about how well he knew Putin because after all, he had brought the pageant to Moscow.

TAPPER: The Miss Universe pageant, yes.

ROSEN: And therefore, he really understood how to deal with Putin. And then over the last six or eight months, he's now -- I have no relationship, I have never met the guy, there's nothing there. What these conversations at least show is that there have been ongoing relationships if we haven't seen directly with Putin, but at least people very close to him for a long period of time prior to this. And so, it's -- it does lead Mueller to start to look at those

relationships over the course of the last year to see how they might have been extended during this presidential campaign.

TAPPER: So, Christopher Steele who is the former British intelligence agency who -- agent who compiled this dossier hired by Fusion GPS, paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign as we know now or at least lawyers for them. His lawyer, or Christopher Steele rather would not testify before the House Intelligence Committee, would not testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee but apparently has spoken to the Mueller investigators and the reason for that, it has been reported, is Steele doesn't want anything to leak, because if he testified before the House or the Senate, it will leak.

And you hear you have Keith Schiller's attorneys protesting that what he testified is leaking and Kevin Madden -- not that I don't like a good leak, I do, I'm a journalist, I always like information, more information is good. But you can see why they would be frustrated.

MADDEN: Yes, it is. It's very problematic. And I think the White House continues to use that as the foundation for a lot of their criticism of some of these investigations that they are leaked and they seem like strategic leaks intentionally designed to embarrass the president and that there's a degree of partnership involved in some of this.

So -- and I think that is something they're going to continue to point to when you see reports like this come out that are not favorable.

ROSEN: Well, there's no -- first of all, there's no indication that these leaks are from Democrats versus Republicans. Many Republicans have been back channeling information because they actually are afraid to push the president on this publicly, but, you know, some of them are quite horrified by all of this.

MADDEN: And this is, as David pointed out, this is fairly exonerating. I mean, this shows the president not doing anything wrong at all.

ROSEN: So, I do think though that this is an ongoing problem. This is why these investigations in Congress are -- going to be more stalled. Why I think any real results are going to end up happening out of the Mueller investigation.

CHALIAN: And they've been pretty solid on not leaking. I mean, there haven't been many leaks --

ROSEN: The Mueller team must have been pretty strong.

CHALIAN: All right.

ROSEN: That's the nature of Congress for sure.

TAPPER: OK. Thanks one and all, appreciate it.

Coming up next, the latest celebrity accused of sexual harassment. We're going to report it for you. And then discuss it with our panel again next.

[16:40:01] Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: And we have some breaking news in our pop culture lead today. Explosive new allegations against comedian Louis CK. Five women telling "The New York Times" on the record that the comedian behaved inappropriately with them, either masturbating in front of them or asking them if he could.

The women went on the record with "The Times" to describe the allegations. The comedian's publicists would not answer questions about the reports. Tonight's premier of his latest film, "I Love You, Daddy" was abruptly cancelled in anticipation of this bombshell report.

We have also learned that Ridley Scott is going to edit Kevin Spacey completely out of his new movie "All the Money in the World", which premiers in I think four weeks. This comes, of course, after the sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Kevin Spacey. They're going to be reshooting all of his scenes with a new actor, Christopher Plummer.

Spacey says he is seeking treatment following the initial allegation from actor Anthony Rapp who said the comedian came on to him -- or the actor came on to him when he was 14 years old. I want to bring in my panel to discuss this. We're going to start this -- start with Louis C.K. Now, to be candid, Hillary, the whispers about this behavior by Louis C.K. have been -- has been written about and it's been -- it's not a complete surprise, what's the surprise is people coming forward in these numbers in the New York Times writing about it. But this has been out there in the public to a degree for quite some time.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think you could say the exact same thing about Harvey Weinstein and the exact same thing about Kevin Spacey that they're -- this has been rumors about a numerous men, and I think the key difference here over the last few weeks is that when one or two women have spoken out, when reporters have been dogged in pursuing these stories and importantly when editors have had the guts to print these stories, which used to be called rumors, but all of the sudden now we're starting to believe women, then the sea change has started. And I think that what was so interesting now is, you know, Hollywood is really reacting.

These people's careers are really suffering. And as, you know, compare that to our last segment when we were talking about politicians, will that extend to the political environment too where the only accountability is sort of with voters and other people? But when you've got a job when you've got to sell something to the public, you know, brands are going to be worried about this, and they should be.

TAPPER: Interesting. Do you think that we are in the middle of a sea change and it's going to last? NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, it already feels like that at least in sort of the level of branding and Hollywood and people not wanting to be associated with that. I mean, I've been quite surprised that the volume, at the steadiness of it, at the willingness of women to come forward and talk on the record, I think anyone who is a woman and who's worked in any venue has probably experienced some of this from men and there are all sorts of you know, ways that we deal with it and we talk about it and maybe some people come forward. So, yes, I mean, I think that you hope that this is a different era that we've -- that we've entered and that more women come forward and that men change their behavior. You hope that men are having conversations amongst themselves too. Because women are the ones who've been dealing with this by and large and having to confront it or not bring attention to it. So, you know, ideally, we are in a different space.

TAPPER: What should the standard be for reporting on these stories Mary Katharine? I mean, does it need to be multiple women? Is it -- are all allegations to be believed immediately? I mean, where should the line be drawn because obviously we -- just as a blanket statement, we as a society and me personally, I oppose this kind of behavior. But also, there runs a risk of there not being standards in reporting this.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is very hard to do. It's hard for victims to come out, it's hard to get people to come out and talk about this. I do think we get into dangerous territory when it's only anonymous sources who are coming out and taking down a career. That being said, we have a -- we have a pattern with all of these men who have suffered this recently where there were rumors in the past, but nobody had been really able to nail them down. There's strength in numbers, you've reached a critical mass of people willing to put their names on the stories, and then there's a pattern of behavior that is the same throughout the stories. And that those women have contemporaneously reported those to friends and such because they were not able to come forward. And then lastly and I think you see this with Louis C.K. that there was no mechanism by which to support -- to report that they felt good about it and the comedy world is a really problematic area because it is pretty profane --

TAPPER: Sure. I mean, it's all freelance --

HAM: You know, there's just no -- there's no H.R. department at a comedy club where you're working with somebody. So -- but that pattern of facts I think puts you in a safer place when you're looking to decide who to believe not to be.

ROSEN: But people are being careful and full disclosure, I represent a woman who claimed Brett Ratner raped her. She was on T.V. this week --

TAPPER: The executive producer Brett Ratner.

ROSEN: Brett Ratner the Producer, the Hollywood producer. And there was scrutiny by the media outlets to her story and the two tests were was somebody told that the times and was enough detail given that it fits patterns of how other people experienced similar behavior. And that standard seems to be what journalists are now using as kind of a new way to believe women who didn't report it to police, who didn't got to the authorities, who didn't tell their boss. Because that's really the only thing that they have, is they have to come up with a standard of credibility.

HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, you look at the Washington Post story right on Roy Moore, 30 people they talk to corroborating statements at the time from the young woman who was in that lead, phenomenal reporters, three reporters on that byline, one of whom is Alice Crites who's been attached to almost all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories that the Post has done over the last ten or 15 years. So yes, I mean, I think there is this standard and a lot of this stuff. I mean, you have Republicans essentially saying oh, we don't know if you'll even be believed. I think the question is what is the standard of believability? And it feels like journalists -- many of whom are women who are doing some of this reporting at the New York Times, at the Washington Post, there is I think a pretty good standard.

[16:50:36] HAM: A greater understanding of why women don't report right away sometimes helps in understanding some of this, particularly in the Roy Moore story. Some of those quotes rang very true for me where the woman said you know, my kids were at school age and I wasn't sure what this would do to them or I had had several messy divorces and everyone knew -- everyone knew I was not an angel in my small town. That rang true to me as reasons that are perfectly good for not bringing this forward and I think a better cultural understanding of that which we are now gaining helps to gauge this as well.

TAPPER: That's at the small town level and then you have Ronan Farrow with another blockbuster report about the insane investigative -- private investigators that his -- that David Boies, who was Harvey Weinstein's attorney, that the Boies Law Firm sicked on accusers of Harvey Weinstein and reporters looking into it, with -- of this one woman pretending to be an activist, feminist, sitting down with Rose McGowan whom allegedly Harvey Weinstein raped and trying to get dirt. And that's -- so the Roy Moore level, that's small-town America and then totally understandable, and then you have hiding -- hiring former members of the Mossad to try to ruin your life.

ROSEN: It is kind of the second wave of victimization again with Melanie Kohler or Brett Ratner, she got sued for defamation. She has no money. She -- and she had not -- she didn't ask for anything from Brett Ratner. She just -- this was a message to be quiet. It was a message to everybody else who would speak out. Since then, 40 other people have spoken out. But I think the thing that is so troubling is these powerful moguls, they have a lot of money, they're going to sick their lawyers on them. But -- and the media has here to for kind of pushed against these because these are all famous people. Famous, same with Roy Moore.

What I think is going to be the true test is over the course of the next couple of years, will the waitress in the diner, will the, you know, woman packing in the -- in the manufacturing plant, will there be a sense of empowerment against employers who are not famous, against people who are not going to be able to get into the media? Can we, in the media, and can politicians really help affect a change in culture that reaches women across the country?

TAPPER: Now you're saying that, but I'm still wondering what's going to happen with Roy Moore when you have a former 14-year-old -- former 14-year-old alleging that when she was 14 he had actual contact with her.

ROSEN: That's why it's such a test.

TAPPER: And we're still not even sure with the exception John McCain if Republican Senators are going to come against her.

HENDERSON: That's right. I mean, so far they basically said, if it's true, he should step aside. I mean, it was almost coordinated, all of them said that. Nobody stepped as far as John McCain and said he should just get out because of the allegations.

TAPPER: All right, Hilary, Nia Malika, Mary Katharine, thanks, one and all, I appreciate it. Be sure to tune in tonight. CNN has a live special "TOWN HALL" on this very topic. It's called Tipping Point, Sexual Harassment In America. "NEW DAY's" Alisyn Camerota will be hosting the live event with several women who have helped to make this topic part of the national conversation. It all starts at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN. We're going to be right back, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: Welcome back. His menus have changed the way America eats. This Sunday, CNN's Anthony Bourdain explores the remarkable life of Jeremiah Tower, one of the most controversial and influential figures in American dining.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the master of ceremonies. He was the ringmaster. And he enjoyed being someone who could play host to the gathering of rich and powerful and important or self-important people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) amazed me that I know he spends a lot of time in the kitchen and he got splattered with some food, he go down and changes. Because he comes walking out around the crowd, shaking hands, saying hello, being Jeremiah, and he was a lucky soul --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Totally in control. Of course, you love that. You wanted to see him. You wanted to see who was touching your food, who was making it, and who was directing the rest of the guys in the kitchen. I think Jeremiah was a celebrity chef. He was one of the first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like a conductor walking through with an orchestra, and that's what he would do. And he usually had a glass of champagne in his hand, and if he didn't, somebody brought it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Jeremiah Tower, The Last Magnificent airs this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, @JAKETAPPER, that's the Twitter account, Jake Tapper CNN is the Facebook account or Twitter @THELEADCNN. That's it for THE LEAD today, I'm Jack Tapper, I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer now right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM" thanks for watching.